The "Pieces of Me" Project turns 1 year old

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In May of 2017, I wanted to start the daunting task of a 52 weeks project. I was a newer mother then trying to navigate through it all while also trying to figure out and remember who I was underneath it all. It’s no secret by now that I went through some of the worst forms of PPD that lasted nearly a year after my son was born. It ripped away all my self esteem. Self love. Self confidence. And rattled my world even though being Leo’s mother was the greatest gift I’ve ever experienced! But, I talk more about my actual PPD experience and what caused mine here if you’re more curious.

I looked at myself in the mirror one day in May of 2017 and didn’t even recognize myself. I was still really overweight with extra baby weight, and then some. I didn’t have any personal time. Our financial situation was harder than ever before. And I was still fresh into full time self employment with a weight on me I didn’t know how to handle yet. That’s when I just broke down and lost it right there on the bathroom floor next to the toliet.

I realized in that moment I needed to do something for myself. Because every other aspect of my life was doing something for someone else. And although I love making the people in my life as happy as can be, taking care of ourselves needs to also be a priority. How can we take care of others if our own self is falling apart at the seams?

I decided to work on a personal project where I could dissect myself into pieces. And use photography to create photos that showcased those pieces. And each week there was a different theme surrounding a different piece of myself in which could be made as a reminder to myself of everything that I am and ever have been. But also giving myself the permission to create every week. Making a space to be free to do anything and everything. To explore. Or stay home and make something out of nothing. To challenge myself and give my mind something to do outside of the despair it constantly racked around with. And so, not only was the Pieces of Me 52 weeks project born, but it was almost easy for me to keep up with it even through my busiest times because it was healing me. And giving me a path back to who I want to be.

See The Full Project Here

Since most everyone has probably seen the project photos by now. And the link to the project is right above. I wanted to share something that didn’t get shared anywhere last year which was my behind the scenes video diary compilation I made of everything I took during the project’s duration. Not only was this project transformative, eye opening, and freeing, but it ultimately ended up documenting the entire past year in such a unique way. And, you can see that below in the very crappy video I threw together <3

Third Birthday Session at Something Old Dayton // Our Little Leo // Cincinnati Lifestyle Photographer Brooke Townsend

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It’s been 3 years of you, Leo.

Three years absolutely stocked full of life living and breathing you.

You surprise us every single day with your smarts, affection, strength, and loudness 😂

You love to learn so, so, so much. And we are already so proud of everything that you already are.

You also love to play outside, watching your rocket launch videos, and seem to be developing a love for Star Wars that was probably unavoidable let’s be honest.

You’ve also spent the last couple months obsessing over Temple of Doom and even want to listen to the soundtrack in the car whenever we go out together.

You have developed quite the independence too and your passion for things is completely infectious to everyone around you. No matter where you go, people seem to notice you and are drawn to you and
your immeasurable energy.

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You love to explore and have already been to more places than
probably most other 3 year olds. But seem to have a natural love for
the adventure of it all.

You already know all your ABC’s. Are starting to get into the sounds of the
letters and can already identify many letter sounds and words. You can count to 25. And even recognize numbers in the 100’s.

When you turned 2, you could barely say 5 words. Now, you are speaking in almost complete sentences saying new words every single day that we are still surprised you even know!

You love watching things that teach you how things are going to work. How rockets are built. What makes an airplane fly. What firetrucks do. You are constantly wanting to learn. And I hope we can always feed you enough and keep that spark alive.

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Simply saying we are proud to call you ours doesn’t feel big enough
for the love and joy you bring to our lives.

But we really, really, really are.

Happy Birthday to you my rocket loving lion 🦁

 

At every one of Leo’s birthday shoots so far, I have taken video alongside his photos to make sure we keep home video of his milestones. Below is the video from this 3rd year photoshoot capturing everything photos can’t. <3 See his first birthday and second birthday if you want <3

 

Our New England Road Trip // Ohio Photographer Brooke Townsend

Holy cow. This trip was one for the books.

In November of 2018, we packed up the car for our first road trip as a family for a total of 15 days. Over the course of those days we traveled 2800 miles, stayed in 10 different states, and 2 countries all with a 2 year old in the backseat. And, you might think we are crazy for even thinking about doing this. And we thought we might be for even thinking about doing a trip like this while Leo was still so little!

BUT, Leo did SUCH an amazing job. Being his momma, I was honestly expecting the worst - late and sleepless nights, meltdowns, too much junk food and sugar rushes (def a reality there) and anything else you can think of. But he loved this and did better than we ever expected *insert clap emojis here*

Leo has struggled with his speech for a long time (As many 2 year olds actually do). But during this trip, Leo doubled the amount of words he could say and seemed to be more curious about everything than ever before. And with undivided attention from both me and Paul, we all grew closer together. Which was so necessary after such a busy photography season of mine. So, this was a magical trip for our little fammy jammy because of it.

I had so much fun documenting this trip because it was such a wonderful embrace of creative freedom to shoot only what I really wanted to. With all the diverse landscapes, buildings, and experiences we had together, these images will probably be some of my favorites I’ve ever taken for the rest of forever because when I look at them, I will always be able to remember all the wonderful memories attached to every single one of these. And hope that I can never, ever forget this one.

 

NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO

WHITE MOUNTAINS, NEW HAMPSHIRE, USA

LUBEC, MAINE

BAR HARBOR AND ACADIA
NATIONAL PARK IN MAINE

PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

PLYMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS